I read a terrific article today in the Harvard Business Review. It was by Arianna Huffington and was about naps and the workplace. Now, I am a big Arianna fan - I got to be her handler several years ago and her team was hilarious in preparing me for handling her. The top rules were never leave her alone and keep an eye on her stuff. They actively warned me she'll leave things behind and you'll be caught scrambling, and she will expect you to be with her every minute. My boss at the time became extremely annoyed with me for hovering - she felt it interfered with her ability to show Arianna off and she told me to go away. I didn't - their warnings were so on the button I saved us all a lot of grief by being perpetually vigilant. I rescued her coffee three times, her purse twice and I can't even say how many times I scooped up her blackberry - holding it so whenever she called for it she would have it within seconds. She had also given me her own instructions on when she wanted me to pull her out and I got in trouble for that as well.
However, I digress. Arianna's article made a reference to napping at the workplace. Sports heros now get to nap at 3 p.m. on game day. Wish fans could do the same. The Huffington Post advocates for them so much that they have nap rooms. And here is my one complaint - the whole thing about a nap is that when you are tired you take one. If you are brimming with energy you don't. In the article she references that the nap rooms are so popular they are always booked well in advance. So how can you know that you are going to really want that nap from 3:15- 3:30? A reservation also implies you will wake up from the nap. Something seems a bit odd - a reservation means that if you find yourself really needing one and the rooms are booked then you must go napless.
I have referenced before my many trips to China in the early 2000's. At the company, everyone was given a naptime for 45 minutes after lunch. It made sense - you were full from eating and it would give you a quiet time to digest. Each of us was given a mat that you could put on the floor and go to sleep. I was the outlier in that situation. I couldn't take a nap because I was suffering from extreme jetlag - a 10 hour time difference. If I went down for a nap it would be at what in my mind was bed time and I would never get back up. I spent the time everyone else was asleep calling my then boyfriend long distance and begging him to keep me awake. The mats and sleeping colleagues reminded me of naptime in kindergarten when you would get a mat from your cubby and hit the floor. In China everyone was on the floor in their workspace - be it office, cube or open area. Men and women were on the floor side by side. No reservations, no walls, no judgment.
These days I do occasionally take a nap - the advantage of working from home and scheduling my own time. However, I can't really nap since I have someone who decides to terminate my naps at will - either by barking wildly next to me or by deciding he's had enough of a nap and exiting by walking over my stomach. Bizz on the other hand sleeps whenever or wherever he likes - his numerous beds, the various floors of the house (depending on the heat he is on carpet, the wood floor or the coolest tiles), the top of the bookcase (in a throw I am using in a hopeless attempt to protect the wood from clawmarks), all upholstered furniture or my favorite - on top of the clean clothes pile on my bed.
So I admire Arianna and I join her in advocating for naps. Think how many fewer car accidents there would be if people could be well rested before getting in their car at rush hour. And think how many bad decisions would not be implemented after people have slept on it. But napping at work should be available to all - not just those who get in their reservations.
Here are some Bizz napping photos. In fact he's asleep next to me right now as I type this. Maybe I'll hit the floor and join him.